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Close up and close-up have distinct meanings. For example,

  • He closed up (shut down) his store.
  • A close-up (zoomed-in) picture of him

But can one use the latter close-up as a transitive verb? For example,

  • Close up the World—a song written and sung by a Korean band Peppertones
    • It seems the original intention is to take a closer look at the world.
    • However, it sounds like shutting down the world.
  • The picture is now too small. Let's close up the new building more.
    • The same issue—taking a close-up picture of the building versus shutting it down.

Cambridge says (1) close as a verb does not mean something enlarging and (2) closeup is not a verb but a noun. Merriam-Webster also says both close and close-up do not have such usage.

I wonder whether native English writers use close-up in this way.

1 Answer 1

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Personally I would never use "close-up" as a verb. I would opt for something along the lines of "enlarge" or "zoom in on".

With regards to the different meanings you raised, these would be distinguished in speech by the difference in sounds. The "s" in "closeup" (zoom in) sounds like "sea", whereas the one in "close up" (shut down) sounds like "zoo".

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